To support a nationwide initiative to increase breastfeeding rates, University of Virginia School of Medicine is making available nationally a training program that teaches hospitals and healthcare professionals how to support new moms that want to breastfeed.
"Research has shown that breastfeeding can improve the health of both mothers and babies," said Ann Kellams, MD, director of UVA's newborn nursery. "By better educating physicians, nurses and other healthcare staff, we hope to help increase breastfeeding rates at hospitals across the country."
Track Record of Success
UVA is teaming with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), HIT-Global, Scitent and Telligen to run the Breastfeeding Friendly Consortium. The consortium grew out of two VDH-funded online programs - breastfeedingpi.org and breastfeedingtraining.org - created through the UVA Office of Continuing Medical Education to increase breastfeeding among Virginia mothers. These programs have had a significant impact; more than 1,200 healthcare professionals per month used breastfeedingtraining.org, while breastfeedingpi.org enrolled more than 600 physicians over the past 18 months.
A survey of 162 physicians who completed the performance-improvement activities on breastfeedingpi.org reported a 15.9 percent improvement in mothers who breastfed exclusively, said Tamara Eberly, project manager in the UVA Office of Continuing Medical Education.
How the Program Works
The Breastfeeding Friendly Consortium includes training courses, performance improvement plans and performance measurement tools to help hospitals and healthcare workers successfully implement the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative's 10 Steps for Successful Breastfeeding.